UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted approach to achieving gender equality and constitutes an essential part of UN Women’s work. It makes women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences integral to the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all policies and programmes, as defined by the Economic and Social Council in its Agreed Conclusions 1997/2. A comprehensive approach, it pertains to all activities in peace, development and human rights, and ensures that women and men can influence, participate in and benefit from these.

The 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women endorsed gender mainstreaming as critical for achieving gender equality commitments, including those in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Additional commitments comprise those in the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, the Millennium Declaration, and a variety of resolutions and decisions of the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women.

While strong, consistent gender mainstreaming is one of the most effective means for the United Nations to support gender equality, targeted interventions to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment may be necessary to accompany it. This is particularly the case where discrimination and inequality are deeply entrenched.

Roles and responsibilities

In resolution 64/289, the General Assembly charged UN Women with leading, coordinating and promoting the accountability of the UN system in its work on gender equality and the empowerment of women, including through system-wide gender mainstreaming.

Towards that end, we work to ensure that the principles of gender equality are consistently embedded in all development, peace and human rights agendas. We support Member States, at their request, in adopting gender mainstreaming. As part of UN country teams, we lead and coordinate work on gender equality and the empowerment of women, under the overall leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator. We develop reporting mechanisms, and ensure coherence and coordination between gender equality norms and programmes.

At the same time, senior management of each UN entity is responsible for implementing gender mainstreaming within organizational mandates, and ensuring that policies and programmes contribute to the achievement of gender equality. Many have established gender units and gender focal points to provide advice, and promote and monitor this process. The Agreed Conclusions 1997/2 of the Economic and Social Council define a mandate for the focal points.

The creation of UN Women should encourage other UN organizations to redouble their efforts in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. In some areas UN Women leads; in others, it supports other entities with established track records.

Reports and resolutions

The UN Secretary-General and the Economic and Social Council have issued a series of reports and resolutions related to gender mainstreaming (view the list).

Expert Group Meeting

“Approaches to Gender Mainstreaming in Development Programming: Being Strategic and Achieving Results in an Evolving Development Context” (30 April-3 May 2013, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic). 

Policies and tools

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality hosts a repository of gender mainstreaming policies from organizations across the UN system as well as tools and other resources to help develop capacities to implement gender mainstreaming.